Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Ballymaloe Day 13, 25th January - Bovine Bacchanalia

Our third theory day and most of the morning was taken up with a huge demonstration by Darina, Rory and some of the teachers cooking Roast Rib of Beef, some cheaper cuts of meat, Yorkshire puddings, horseradish sauce using fresh horseradish, roast vegetables, Anchoiade, Crab Apple Jelly and a massive Simnel Cake.

For the best beef apparently you should buy in on the bone from a good butcher and it should have been hanging for long enough to develop the texture and flavour of the meat. The beef we had was straight from the farm and had been hanging longer than usual, over 6 weeks. It was a grand production on an epic, almost bacchanalian scale, and we all tucked into the huge rib of beef for lunch. There were also really tasty cheaper cuts of meat such as stuffed breast and braised neck of lamb. The breast was stuffed with pearl barley and both were cooked for a long time to get succulent, juicy meat that could be carved with a spoon!

stuffed lamb breast and lamb necks, slow cooked

Gorgeous Roast Beef and Yorkhire Puddings

Rory serving up the Lamb Shanks

Delicious Crudite and Anchoiade

Slow cooked Lamb

With the Anchoiade there was a great selection of fresh green crudite all grown on the farm and displayed on a big platter, perfect for a summer's day, or imagining a summer's day right now.

Then in the afternoon Darina spoke to us about oils and vinegars, menu planning, and getting a job! She has a vast collection of menus going back years and years and from all over the world as well as the menus from Ballymaloe House when Myrtle Allen wrote them everyday. It's fascinating stuff. The key is providing a balanced and varied list of dishes that appeal to all your customers.

Darina also spoke at length about what to do after Ballymaloe. It may only be week 3 but she keeps asking us if any of us have jobs yet! There seem to be loads of possibilities and opportunities to investigate, not just working in a restaurant kitchen. Some appeal more than others, I am doing my research as we speak!!